3rd AYA Workshop: Iconic Figures of the 20th Century and Beyond

3rd Annual Austria’s Young Americanists Workshop

Iconic Figures of the 20th Century and Beyond

October 24-26, 2009, Graz

Call for Papers

From JFK to Bart Simpson, from Martin Luther King to Elvis Presley, from Marilyn Monroe to Hannibal Lecter, from Muhammad Ali to Lara Croft, from Barack Obama to Bart Simpson – all these people, be they ‘real’ or fictional, are iconic figures and embedded in cultural narratives, which both influence the icons’ narratives and are influenced by icons. All of the abovementioned icons are not equal, neither in the cultural work they do nor in the way they were created. Whatever the differences, icons do also share some very important features: they embrace contradictions, reflect generational differences, prompt disagreement about their meaning, are manipulated in order to subvert their ‘natural’ meaning and stand the test of time.

Topics that may be addressed include, but are not limited to:

    • the creation of iconic figures
    • the cultural work (socially, politically, semiotically) of iconic figures
    • marginal icons and their rise to mainstream (from Rosa Parks to Jenna Jameson)
    • iconic figures and the “transformation of reality into images” (Fredric Jameson)
    • the manipulation and contestation of icons (including the creation of counter-icons)
    • iconic figures and celebrity culture


Saturday, October 24, 2009

21.00 Welcoming Drink

Sunday, October 25, 2009

09.00-09.45 Elliott J. Gorn (Brown): “Iconic Figures: An Introduction”
09.45-10.30 Roundtable: “Icons as Discursive Practice”
10.30-11.00 Coffee Break
11.00-12.00 Simone Puff (Klagenfurt): “Obamania Goes Popular: Barack Obama as Cultural Icon”
12.00-13.45 Lunch
14.00-14.45 Georg Drennig (Vienna): “(Un)Queering Batman: 55 Years of Contesting the Sexual Orientation of a Fictional Character”
14.45-15.30 Petra Eckhard (Graz): “The Anti-Detective as Postmodern Superhero: Paul Auster’s City of Glass
15.30-16.00 Coffee Break
16.00-16.45 Susanne Hamscha (Berlin): “Is Marilyn a Soup Can? Or, ‘Thirty Are Better Than One’: Pop Art and the Performance of America”
18.00-20.00 Dinner

Monday, October 26, 2009

09.00-09.45 Leopold Lippert & Judith Kohlenberger (Vienna): “Q”
09.45-10.00 Coffee Break
10.00-10.45 Michael Fuchs (Graz): “American PsICONs from Ed Gein to Dexter Morgan”
10.45-11.30 Angelika Tsaros (Graz): “Becoming the O of Roissy: A Fictional BDSM Icon Made Flesh”
11.30-11.50 Final Discussion
12.00-14.00 Farewell Lunch